Landscape Committee News – February 2021

The container in the picture above is an Acoma seed jar where corn seeds are stored after harvest.  Like the Zuni, the Acoma are desert farmers.  Only the best seeds are saved in the container for planting, while the rest are used for grinding or eating.  There they stay dry and unharmed until ready to plant.  The seeds can only be removed by breaking the jar.  So what is more valuable to the Acoma, the jar or the seeds?

This month the newsletter takes a look at patio landscaping that involves growing food.  Having such a small space shouldn’t stand in your way of food production.  It isn’t too early to start, in fact, the earlier the better.  Just remember that food crops need to be within the confines of the patio.

My goal has always been to have some food growing all the time in my patio garden.  This winter I have managed to keep winter lettuces growing under a garden cloth and painting canvas.  The canvas was added just recently when the temperature dipped into the 20s.

As a rule of thumb, other cold weather crops can be planted as early as March 15.  In recent years, I have started planting in the middle of February if the weather warms.  These crops include snow peas, radishes, carrots, and even some more lettuce or spinach.  Don’t worry if it suddenly gets colder or snows, those plants will do just fine.

While you are waiting to harvest, start some more plants inside.  Seed starting kits are readily available at garden centers this time of year.  You can find seeds there as well.  Look for seeds suited for smaller spaces.  Tomatoes and peppers are easy to start indoors, or out if it is warm, as well as basil and other herbs. 

Court 4

In a recent walk around, the Landscape Committee noticed that the lawn in the front area of Court 4 has been completely worn away and the soil has become compacted from over-use. We have been informed by experts that this degree of soil compaction significantly threatens the health of the courtyard’s two large Willow Oaks. Thus the lawn, and the area surrounding the oaks will require professional remediation in an attempt to save these much-enjoyed trees. Such necessary effort is expensive and the overall results of loosening the soil are not immediately apparent. In an effort to loosen the soil to the extent necessary for the health of the trees, it has been proposed to plant native grasses and shade tolerant plants. Every owner owns a portion of our common areas, and it is the obligation of every owner (and their renters) not to destroy or damage the common vegetation by overuse or abuse.

And we do thank you for ALL you do and how much we appreciate your involvement!

Happy Valentine’s Day from the Landscape Committee – Fern Birtwistle, Sue Davis, Penny Glass, and Judith Guerny (emeritus).

Want to keep up with Fairlington Gardening?  Visit their Facebook page:

The corn seen above include Broom corn, Hopi Blue, Iroquois Black, Tennessee Red Cob, and Tuscarora White.  

Landscape Committee News

January 2021

Happy New Year! There is a lot to celebrate this year, including new trees and ‘bug scapes.’ 

Court 3 was the big winner this year with new trees.  They not only benefitted from the King Street Rejuvenation Project, but also received a free tree from EcoArlington’s program.  Hopefully the Swamp Oak will do its job sucking up some of the water runoff from King Street.  Other recipients are Courts 1 and Court 11.

Courts 7 through 15 were spruced up this fall and winter (yes, you can plant in winter if the ground isn’t frozen) with small bug scapes.  This turned out to be quite a challenge for Nate Erwin, our contractor, as many of the areas had limited sunlight and plants had to be kept to below window height.  Right now, most of the plants are dormant, but as spring arrives they will take off.  All are natives and require no watering, plus they attract insects and birds. Many will not bloom this first year, so be patient.  A list of the enhanced areas and the plants used can be found here.

Many of you are thinking about your own garden for this year.  If so, please consider native plants.  The Landscape Committee has created a list of resources for and about native plants.  The Master Gardeners of Virginia offer their ‘tried and true’ list of plants as well as lists for different environments.  Monticello, the home of the Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants, offers many plants for sale, but read carefully to determine if they are native.  Bare root plants are available for sale now.  We have also listed resources from the Cape Atlantic Region as well as the Wetlands Institute in New Jersey.  You can find that list here.

Finally, applications have been submitted to EcoArlington for a total of three trees to be planted this spring.  If awarded, Courts 1 and 6 will be the recipients.  The trees are free, but there is paperwork involved showing that the HOA involved meets the criteria.  It was daunting the first time, but seems easier the more often we apply.

As always, we are looking for volunteers.  No landscaping skills or plant knowledge required.

            TREE STEWARDS – water trees in their courts

            WEEDERS – removing ivy, weeds, and helping older Mews residents.

Interested?  We would love for you to join us.  Contact Sue Davis at:   

Your Landscape Committee,

Fern Birtwistle, Sue Davis, Penny Glass, and Judith Guerny emeritus